|ACE Books 1965|
This novel tie-in is pretty much what you'd expect. A breezy spy romp featuring Napoleon Solo and his frequent partner Illya Kuryakin as they attempt to thwart the latest scheme of world domination hatched by the evil agency Thrush. In this adventure, the plan is a chemical attack on major cities that turns innocent citizens into gibbering lunatics before succumbing to death. The chief mastermind of said plot is the evil and scarred genius Mr. Golgatha. For most of the novel, Napoleon Solo works solo (yup!), with the occasional aid of Jerry Terry, girl spy. Actually, most of the time Napoleon Solo is rescuing girl spy Jerry Terry, as she seems to have a knack for fainting and getting shot more than doing anything heroic. Along the way, Napoleon Solo also tangles with the sexy and deadly Denise Fairmount, a colonel for Thrush, and a sexy bitch with 28 (or so) kills on her resumé. Golgotha is one of those maniacs that wears a cape and scares the crap out of his enemies with his gory face. He's also one of those evil geniuses who talk too much, long enough for our hero to figure out escape plots from his clutches. In this case, Golgotha is such a chump for Solo's bullshit that you end up wondering just how such an idiot can become the evil genius he portrays himself as. And he's not the only one who pulls boners (I couldn't resist!) in this novel. There's one scene wear Napoleon Solo can easily just shoot Golgotha in the head and being done with the whole nefarious plot to poison innocent civilians. Instead, Napoleon Solo and Jerry Terry just steal Golgotha's cape and uniform to make an unsuccessful escape! I mean, hapless henchmen get blown away without a thought, and somehow you don't just blast away the main bad guy when you got him cornered...major fail there in the plot!
Anyway, since this is just the 1st novel in about two dozen to follow, it's clearly not to be held to the highest literary standards. If our characters didn't do dumb things we wouldn't have half the stories that exist. As it is, I was able to finish this novel in an afternoon, so I can't complain about it getting a bit silly. That's probably the point of it all anyway, right?